President Trump says he and dictator Kim Jong Un have a chance to be good pals despite the schoolyard insults they hurl at each other and rising nuclear tensions between North Korea and the U.S., a new report said Thursday.
"I have relationships with people", Trump continued.
"I think the premise of your question is completely ridiculous and shows the lack of knowledge that you have on this process", Sanders retorted, adding that the president's tweet "wasn't confusing to me".
Asked whether he has spoken with the North Korean leader, Trump told the newspaper: "I don't want to comment on it". Pompeo defended Trump's tweets as appropriate and "consistent" with US goals of denuclearizing the Korean peninsula.
Despite his previous, inflammatory rhetoric, Mr Trump's comments seem to suggest a newfound willingness to engage with the North Korean leader - something he has previously chided Secretary of State Rex Tillerson for suggesting.
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None of that, however, means North Korea has any intention of slowing its drive for more powerful nuclear missiles and warheads, specifically those that would allow it to hit the US.
The talks followed months of escalating tensions over Pyongyang's nuclear program. On the Korean peninsula, Kim Jong-un has once again reinforced his growing nuclear weapons capability and apparent willingness to make nuclear threats. Technically, South Korea and the United States remain at war with North Korea after the Korean War ended in 1953 with an armistice instead of a peace treaty. In December, the Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov said North Korea wants to engage in a direct dialog with the USA to assure its security, adding that Russia could help with these talks.
Although US President Donald Trump again indicated willingness to personally talk with Kim Jong-un on Saturday, his US Ambassador to the United Nations Nikki Haley immediately stated the precondition was Kim stop weapons testing for a "significant amount of time". North Korea continues to challenge the USA on the world stage. North Korea routinely characterizes such drills as rehearsals for an invasion to overthrow the ruling regime, thus avoiding any military activities during the Winter Olympics is seen as a way to keep all parties happy--at least for a time being. The tests increased tensions with the United States, and the Kim traded bellicose taunts with President Donald Trump.
Putin's remarks come just days after North and South Korea entered into the first high-level talks between the countries in more than two years earlier this week.
Meanwhile, McMaster flew to the opposite end of the spectrum, saying the chance of war was "increasing every day" and telling BBC News the USA would "compel the denuclearization of North Korea without the cooperation of that regime" if needed.